Online sales posed a new challenge in front of business owners, in terms of how to keep the customers satisfied without even being able to see them. Customers, especially Indian customers who have just warmed up to the idea of online sales a few years ago, feel more comfortable when they can put a face to the selling process. This is how customer relationships were built before the advent of online sales channels. It was the shop owners’ responsibility to make the customer feel at home and gain their trust. This resulted in a priceless word-of-mouth publicity for the shop owner. In the virtual world, you don’t have the capability to directly interact with your customer and actually ‘sell’ a product to them. But that does not mean you cannot provide a satisfying shopping experience to the customer. Things to note are – online shopping begins with the customer visiting your online store for the first time, and ends with the product being shipped and accepted by the customer. You can maximize your profits by improving upon every aspect of this customer-retailer relationship. We are listing out 6 hard points that can help you get the most out of your customer service.
How to Provide a Satisfying Customer Experience
1. Provide Quality Content and Product Information
If you partake in the online sales business through the various online sales channels like Flipkart, eBay, Amazon or Snapdeal, you have very little control over the overall aesthetics and page format of the website. But you do have complete control over the content in your seller’s page and product descriptions. Customers tend to judge the trustworthiness of the seller through the information that they put out on these pages. Not only is the accuracy of the information important, but its presentation too. Bad grammar, typographical mistakes, unbelievable offers and constant requests to ‘Give a Five Star Rating’, can be extremely annoying. Make sure that your online persona is pleasant, professional and helpful. Remember, for online sales, User Experience is the same as Customer Experience.
2. Provide Email Notifications
Once the customer has bought a product from you, make sure that you promptly provide notifications to them over email. Customers feel more comfortable once they can put a face to the brand. So, be creative and personalize your email notifications. Also, customers prefer hard timelines rather than estimates. Thus, try to provide the exact date and time for product delivery rather than a range of dates. You can use Browntape’s Multi Channel Inventory Management System that can automatically send branded, professional email notifications to your customers for this task.
3. The Importance of Returns
Most online retailers shy away from returns, because there is a potential for loss. But in the big picture, things are actually quite contrary. Studies show that customers find retailers who have a return policy more trustworthy than the ones who don’t. In fact, one particular study conducted by Granify that covered 20.8 million shoppers concluded that return policies were the most important factor for customers while choosing a retailer, followed by social proof. The price featured last. This is pretty logical too – it shows that you have enough confidence in the quality of your product that you are ready to handle a potential loss. Include a free shipping return label with your product, which will save your customer a lot of trouble. Inventory management systems can help you here too, by printing shipping labels in an efficient manner.
4. Improve Upon Your Customer Service
Who hasn’t dreaded the occasional customer service call, and being forwarded to different services reps, each asking the same set of questions? Customer service is potentially one of the most frustrating aspects of shopping experience for a customer. You can win brownie points from your customers by providing satisfying customer service. Be prompt in replying to customer emails and provide accurate details. During cases of returns and refunds, understand that though in this particular case you might not sell a product, you can gain a loyal customer.
5. Maintain Your Online Social Persona
We live in an age today where everything can be broadcast online. This means that everything including your seller’s rating, product reviews, comments on your website and even on your facebook page are under constant scrutiny by potential customers. Hence it is of utmost importance for you to be prompt and professional in every aspect of your online presence. Understand the negative criticism and learn from it. Answer queries patiently and with respect. This is what will earn the loyalty of a customer.
6. Make the Customer Feel Special
Of course, it is not always about being professional, and making complex strategic decisions. Keep it simple. The whole idea of opening a box to find what is inside is full of anticipation and joy. What can you do to make it more special? How about a little thank you note or a small goodie to go along with the product? How about innovative product packaging? There are tons of ideas you can employ here to make your customer truly feel special about the gift that they have received. What better experience than that?
This is just a taste of what can be done to improve your customer relationships. If you want to know more about customer service or any other aspect of online sales, get in touch with us at Browntape. We are India’s leading multi-channel online inventory management service providers. We come with decades of experience in the online sales and retail market in India, and are always happy to help you sell your products online, the smart way.